Music Lessons

Music Lessons

Many boys enjoy learning a musical instrument at Sydney Grammar School. The school has a specialised music teaching staff offering tuition on a wide range of instruments, many of which are available to hire.

As well as weekly lessons on a chosen instrument, there are many opportunities to participate in the musical life of the school through the music ensembles. Every two years a combined orchestra tour is conducted with the Sydney Grammar St Ives Preparatory School. In the past we have visited Perth and the North and South Islands of New Zealand. This year we are visiting Singapore.

Throughout the year, there are performing opportunities at school events, as well as our three major concerts, Concert A, Concert B and the Infants Concert (see the Music Calendar for the dates).

Boys also attend a class music lesson with our experienced classroom music teachers where they explore the learning of musical literacy through a range of activities based on the Kodaly and Orff methods of music education.

We hold Lunchtime Concerts every Friday at 12.45 pm. Boys who learn outside school are welcome to sign up to perform in these concerts. We have a designated piano accompanist for these concerts. The piano music needs to be handed in to the Music Department as early as possible.

Instrumental Music for Infants

To boys in the Infants we offer violin, viola, cello or piano lessons. These are instruments that can accommodate younger players. Boys are involved in Infants Strings on Wednesdays and performance opportunities exist for some boys in Harwin Strings. Infants boys in Year 1 and 2 are welcome to perform in our Lunchtime concerts, even if they learn outside school. Kindergarten string players are not involved in Infants Strings until after Open Day in May.

Lesson Times

Infants boys have their lesson during the School week, and some parents attend to back up tuition with home practice. Lessons for boys in Year 3 to Year 6 are generally scheduled between 9.00 am and 3.00 pm on a rotating basis throughout the day. This is the School’s policy so please do not ask for it to be changed for your son. If a boy learns two instruments through the School, the lesson time for one instrument will take place outside school hours. It is assumed that lessons will continue from year to year.

Instrument Hire

We have musical instruments available to hire for most instruments taught at Edgecliff. When allocating instruments for hire, preference is given to boys starting an instrument. Hire fees for 2017 will be $55 per term and are billed to your school account twice a year. All instruments should be clearly labelled with the boy’s name and current class on the outside of the case on the coloured label their teacher will give them. Contact address and phone number inside.

Missed Lessons

If your son fails to attend his allocated music lesson time it will be counted as having been given. In the event of illness or injury, 24 hours notice to the Main Office and the Music Office is required. If the Headmaster grants leave and your son has a music lesson, separate notification to the Music Department is required.

Discontinuing Music Lessons

The equivalent of one full term’s notice in a formal letter must be given to the Director of Music before the withdrawal of a boy from music lessons, otherwise fees for an extra 8 lessons will be charged from the date of notification. However, if discontinuing lessons at the end of a year, written notice may be given any time before the end of Term 4.

Repairs and Damage

If an instrument is damaged in any way DO NOT try to repair it yourself as instrument repair is a very specialised field. Bring it to the Music Department where the damage can be assessed and a repairer contacted. Maintenance costs will be met by the Department but parents are responsible for the cost of any damage to school instruments. As the school’s insurance policy does not cover loss or damage to instruments, we recommend coverage be made through your own insurance policy.


Music fees are payable twice a year and are billed to your school account. Lessons are 30 minutes for Infants and 30 minutes for Primary boys. The fees for 2017 are listed below.

Infants and Primary (30 mins)
$1016.15 Semester I (16 lessons)
$ 889.14 Semester II (14 lessons)

If, after your son has received 30 lessons there are still teaching weeks remaining and your son’s tutor is available, you may elect to have extra lessons, which will be billed to your school account.


When a boy has reached a satisfactory standard, he is expected to take part in a group activity appropriate to his ability. All ensembles are graded so that boys work together at the appropriate level of performance. Places in advanced ensembles are determined by the Director of Music and offered by audition. Boys who learn an instrument either at school or outside are welcome. Places are granted with the understanding that a year’s commitment is expected by boys learning either in or outside school. In 2017, all new boys to the School will be asked to play for the Director of Music or the Director of a particular ensemble in order to be placed in an appropriate group.

Assessments and Examinations

Some teachers may encourage boys to sit for AMEB exams but this is not expected for all boys. There will be opportunities for assessment throughout the year.

Commitment to Individual Music Lessons

Sometimes we forget that music is an art form. Mastering new skills takes time and practice. You will make the best progress on your instrument if you can remember these things.

  • There will be a copy of every timetable outside the Music Department on the noticeboard, and a copy for boys in each classroom. Boys will need to write their lesson time into their School Diary.
  • Be organised for your lesson by being on time and having your music and instrument with you.
  • Listen to your teacher and practise the things you work on in your lesson.
  • Remember to read your Gold Music Record Book for your teacher's practice instructions for the week.
  • Remember that the saying "Practice makes perfect" applies to YOU and regular home practice (most days of the week) will help you to make the best possible progress and accelerate your enjoyment of music.

Commitment to Ensembles

  • Remember that when you are in an ensemble you are part of a team.
  • Most morning rehearsals begin at 7.30 am. Some begin at 7.45 or 8.00 am and all boys are expected to arrive 10 minutes beforehand to unpack and tune. Boys enter the School via the door at the back of the Hall. The door is next to the gate that leads down to the library.
  • If, for any reason, a boy cannot attend his ensemble rehearsal, an explanatory note to the conductor is appropriate. 

Instruments offered for hire

  • Violin
  • Viola
  • Cello
  • Double Bass
  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • Clarinet
  • Bassoon
  • Saxophone
  • Trumpet
  • French horn
  • Trombone
  • Euphonium
  • Tuba
  • Percussion (Orchestral) A xylophone will be offered for hire
  • Guitar (You can hire a guitar if necessary. However, we do encourage boys to buy their own guitar as this is less expensive than hiring one)


For enquiries please phone Mrs Robin Carter (Director of Music) on 93660115 or Mrs Anna Gray (Music Admin Assistant) on 9366 0114.